Episode 10 (The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos) is very good indeed. It brings closure to the tragedy of Grace’s death in episode 1. The companions Ryan and Graham finally sort out their man-nonsense. There’s a nice religious element (with a false God) and plenty of scifi spaceships too – a proper dark science or gothic episode, this one.
The Doctor and companions answer a distress call and materialise amidst the wreckage of a recent battle. Broken spaceships lie all around. The psychotropic waves emanating from the planet play tricks on the mind and make people forget their own names. They find a survivor who has retrieved a powerful device, but knows not from where. Neither can the survivor remember what he needed the device for… nor where his crew have gone.
Turns out, a baddie has the crew hostage and will kill them one by one if the Doctor doesn’t return the device. Also turns out the baddie is an adversary from the start of the series too. Graham has murder in his eye and swears he will have revenge for his wife’s death in episode 1. This sets Graham at odds with the Doctor (who will never sanction killing) – and there is a fascinating stand off between them. The viewer genuinely has divided sympathies, especially as the baddie is proper bad (definitely channelling Darth Vader) and intent on destroying the universe with his sick superweapon.
There are moral dilemmas and genuine jeopardy in this episode. It looks like the Doctor is properly out-gunned this time… and it’s all of her own making too. There’s a lot of dark and cosmic irony going on. The Doctor’s also not the biggest noise in the universe either, cos we meet a couple of beings more powerful than her!
Suffice it to say, this episode redeems the series somewhat (cos there were some definite duff filler episodes along the way). It makes me proper look forward to the New Year’s Day Special too! Hurrah! Onwards!